*=

[i ;o

Meeting of the Aristotelian Society at 21, Gower Street, W.G.

1,

on January 16th, 1922, at 8

P.M.

-V.

PLATO S THEOEY OF EIKA2IA.*
By H.
J.

PATON.

IT

is,

I suppose, universally admitted that the portion of the
line
it

EepuUic which deals with the most important passages, if
passage,
for a

and the cave
not
of

is

one of the

is

the

most
s

proper understanding

Plato

important position with

regard to

the

problems

of

impossible to get a coherent
or of the reasons

knowledge. Yet it is almost account of this fourfold division
to

which can have led Plato
that
there
is

make
or

it.

It is

not

uncommonly supposed
between
but
the

no

fundamental

difference
their

two

highest

activities

between

objects,

many

of those

who

recognize that Plato

was sharply distinguishing the mathematical sciences and their objects from philosophy and its objects, yet fail to observe any
similar distinction as regards the lower part of the division. They have no use for a distinction between circaa-ia and TROTW.

To them

as to the Sophist a
it,

shadow

is

as real as the object

which casts

and we

find for instance the

American

critic

Mr. Shorey boldly asserting that el/caaia and the el/cove? are for the sake of "symmetry." It is "playfully thrown
in"

surely a strange reading of the character of Plato as a seeker after truth to maintain that in the very heart of his greatest work and at the very core of the problem of knowledge he

should disturb and confuse those

who

are seeking to under
"

stand his doctrine with a
ness"

even though

it

wholly uncalled for playful should be for the sake of "symmetry."
little

* I must express suggested to

me

my debt to Professor J. A. Smith who originally the line of reflexion on this subject which I have

endeavoured

to follow.

70

H.

J.

PATON.

It is strange that in a place

marked by the suppressed but
setting forth the very essence of

tense emotion of one
all

who

is

that he has thought, there should occur without the least hint or warning a passage which has no counterpart in his
thinking, which
is

at its best superfluous

and

at its

worst

misleading.

It is stranger still that in a later dialogue

The

the very turning point of the argument, the question Sophist of the possibility of error and of sophistry, should rest upon a
similar meaningless distinction expressed in almost identical

we have any respect at all for Plato as we must put this down as grotesquely improbable
words.
If

a thinker
;

and the

mere incapacity
understand.

of the critic to

understand his doctrine will
is

not be for us a sufficient proof that there

no doctrine

to

The interpretation which we seek
the
four sections
of

to

uphold

is

that each of

the line represents

a different kind of

cognitive activity,

and the objects

of these different activities

are different objects.

To
comes
trying
,f

establish this

we must hark back
the

to the

argument which

immediately before
to

fourfold

division.

We
or.

are

establish

^distinction

_

between

$oa

om nioiu.

\

A
X

and eVt(JT7i^2^-QlJoiQwledge. A 6 fa is- supposed to ho. hef.wftfin ignorancejmd knowledge, and its objects are supposed to He
between the objects
of ignorance

and those_ofjknpwled^e.
Jftg ftharantftr of
differs

.To

^

Aw\^
U
^

establish the distinction
i- e
->

we

consider

faculties, or better, powers.
its different
^
"

One power
and Its
rrr~"~

Swd^ets, from another

1

\

J

according to ZL

objects

:

c5 re ecrrt Kai b airepyd era i. The ecji The power of function of seeing and its objects are colours! hearing has the function of hearing and its objects are sounds.

different function* ~ power of sight has the

Now

knowledge,

if

it

is

really knowledge,

must

be^ infallible

this_is very important
fallible.

That

is

to say

is while opinion as i^jsmere opinion because the functions of the infallible

477

d.

PLATO
fallible

S

THEORY OF

EIKASIA.

7T

andjbhe

different -knowledge and opinion are and therefore fhey__have different objects. digeient SiW/*e9, as sound SuchJis_J^la^(^^

must be

or not there can_be_np^jipjitLLihat_he accepted the- conclusion. Having established the necessity of difference in the objects
:

we proceed
of

to ask

what these
lies

different objects are.

The
is

$vi>ap,c$

S6%a clearly

between ignorance
It
is

which
as
it

of

course

simply nothing than ignorance, but not so clear as knowledge.

and knowledge.

were clearer
Its

objects

must

lie

between the objects

of ignorance

Now the objects of knowledge. are themselves nothing, or simply what

and the objects of ignorance which is nothing
is

not.

We

cannot

philosophically speaking be ignorant about anything.

Ordinary statements of that kind imply some sort of cognition of an Ignorance is mere blankness or object in some sense real.
darkness and
not
exist.
it

cannot have an object.

Its objects literally

do

The
real

objects of

knowledge on the other hand are the truly

TO TravreXws bv TravreXco? yvcoo-rov.

They

are

the

et3r;

or true universals
timeless, intelligible
are,

the self-sufficient, self-dependent, perfect,
realities,

which

are,
are.

ancT~are~^tetrthey
Wj^af,
then^-ftrre-

and arejieyer other than they
S6%a

the

of objejsts^

the objec^pj

is the object of knowledge. ra yiyvop.eva, the__things of ih^m^Jn__the wo_rld_pf sense and change, things which are never themselves^but are

We_execj_them ignoranceand what
1

to liejbetween

what

is

not

continually passing over into something else, things which in a md in a sense are nn^ about between
"

tumbling

not-being."

It

is,

in

thi\s..^^oie_ibat_we find

what

.we are seeking.

These__objects__are

between the objects of

clearness and reality_than thatjvhich

is merely a blank nothing, but they have far JSSR rtftariiesallij^^ in tell which we grasp ljy_j^asoii apart from sense. igible^objects

Clearly, then, for Plato

whether he was rigHTor wrong

x

72
the objej3j&^Li>^

H.

J.

PATOX.
of

This
j

j^^^^isjhe^reatest_ difference possible.

The_objects

of
j

thg_diflerent_jui/a/iety of seciij^_andjh earing

werex we

\different.

We

sec colours

and we hear sounds.

But

this
of

Sdifference^_is__as

nothing

to

the difference oL_th.e jabjects

^pinion and knowledge. In comparison with this second differ ence these minor differences become negligible. In comparison

with this second difference

seffrg

become

similar,
is

and we

class

and hearing and their objects them both under the SiW/u? of

Sofa, which

opposed to the SiWytu? of eVto-rr;^.
our subsequent procedure.

Consider

now

We

take a line
guess,

stretching, as from the allegory of the cave

we may

from

darkness into
first

light.
is

We

divide

it

in

two unequal

sections, the

of

which

Sofa and the second eVio-nj/w;.

The

first

section, that of Sofa, is
reality.

We

presumably the shorter as having less then subdivide these two sections in the same
gives

proportion, which
division of eitcaaia

us

in

the

first

section

the

smaller

and the larger division

of Tricms,

and in the

second section the smaller division of Sidvoia and the larger division of vorjo-i? or eVicrrr;/^ proper. We thus establish a

mathematical proportion, Sofa eVio-T?;/^
:

=

etVao-ta

:

TTLO-TIS

=

Sidv ota

:

voricris

or eVierT^T/ proper.

Again, keeping to the
:

same terminology (though Plato varies), eUaala ^icivoia = Note further* that this proportion holds not TTLO-TIS 1/0770-49. between the activities, but between their objects. OiWa or only
:

yevecris or becoming, the object of Sofa = eVio-Tr^u?? Sofa. Plato expressly refrains from drawing out the proportions between the subordinate divisions* and
:
:

being, the object of eTricmjfjLT}

their

objects, rr]v

efi

oh ravra avdXoylav
is

in order to avoid
this

many

words.

Surely that
are

to

say clearly that

proportion

certainly exists.

What

we

to

make

of these proportions

?

Clearly that

what we can say

of the relations of eVtoT///-^

and Sofa and

* 534

a.

PLATO
their objects, can

S

THEORY OF
a

EIKASIA.

73
degree of the

be said also in

different

relations of the subordinate divisions

and

their objects.

Now,

in the first place, we have shown that the objects of eTrio-Tij^r) and Soga are different from one another and therefore it is
;

probable from one another.

that the objects of the subdivisions are also different

Further, as

eTrtcrr^yLu;

is

clearer than $6%a
of

and

its

objects are

more

real

than

those

Sofa,

so

the

power of each division is clearer than the power of the division which precedes it, and the objects of each power are more real than the objects of the power which precedes it. That is to
say,

we

are

mapping out

in the first place the different cognitive

powers of the

human

spirit,

the different forms in which
it

it is

manifested, the different stages by which
ledge.

passes to full

know

these different powers.

by

side

mapping out the different objects of The difference of the powers goes side with a difference in the objects. The principle is stated
are also

And we

clearly

by

Aristotle, NIC. Eth.

t

1139 a

l\

Tor

to generically

different objects
of the soul,
if

as

we

must correspond generically different parts hold, it is in virtue of some kind of like

ness or kinship that
rc3 yevei,

we
row

are able to
9

know

them."

IIpo?
TCO

<yap

ra
TO

erepa

teal

T% ^^X^ ^P

/iWV

%Tpov
riva

<yevei

Trpo? e/cdrepop ire^vKos
r)

emep Ka0 o^otor^rd
powers
is,

teal olKeiorrjra

yvaxns

V7rdp%ei avrols.
as

The

difference in the

we have

seen, a difference
?

in clearness.

Whatjtejthejli^

It_js-a
a

encen^ii^^
difference in_ intelligibility (d\ij&eia).

Ey^rYthingjbhat.

is

and

iV-known

is

of CQUISP-

in.

a.

gpn<^

real.

The wildest dreams and

the most jjpsuxrL dplusions^Tri^snrnft sense are. BuLwitEm-Uiis different kinds or jegi^es_pf reality. We_separate real^we_fi^d the whole real fixgfc of ^11 HM ^ f) ?fTTrone side (the things
7
i

<Vi

which in a special sense are, arid are real and intelligible), and ra ryiyvopeva on the other (the things for ever changing,
tumbling about between what is and what is not). Within ra ovra we make a further subdivision into ra p.a6rip,ariKd the
)

74

H.

J.

PATON.

indeed in objects of Sidvota or the mathematical sciences, real with the changing objects of sense, but unreal in comparison

comparison with the
a
iii

elBtj,

the true realities,

the

objects

of

voiivis or 67Tio-r^/j,rj proper.

So within
eiKoves

TCL

^i^vo^eva we make

similar

subdivision,

the

or
in

shadows or reflexions
comparison with the and manufactured
life.

some

sense

real,

but

unreal

objects of TT/crrt?, the actual animals, plants,
articles

among which we lead our waking which we seek to nia Lntain_js_bliat this lower
sense less
.divisions,

The
is

thesis

division

in no

important or less significant than airy_ofthe other

and that

it

indicates our first objects

and our

first

activity in our difficult path towards the_real.

ButJbefore we proceed to attempt a justification of this view we may be asked what is the relation between these so-called
different activities,

kinds of objects,
the other.

and again between these so-called different and how is it ever possible to pass from one to

Our reply is, in the first place, that we have to determine what Plato meant before we can pass on to criticize his meaning and, in the second place, that we shall try to deal with these difficulties in regard to the special section which we
;

Yet we may say here that although the general relation between the different kinds of object is of course a special and unique form of relation, we may describe
are attempting to consider.
it

of

variously and inadequately and metaphorically as the relation the sign to the thing signified, the symbol to the thing

symbolized, the relation of the appearance to the reality, or, though not in the scientific sense, of the effect to the cause.

apparently not identical for the objects of the different sectors, but the analogy or parallelism always holds. firm between thp ofyVh of el/cgata and those of
relation
is

The

Therein
is

giyj3nj^7&^2^^
relation of

the

the copy to the original.

In the cave

it

is

described as the relation of the shadow or reflexion to the thing

which

casts

it,

and the same view

in the tenth Book.

is suggested by the theory of In 511 a a similar relation is said

PLATO S THEORY OF EIKASIA.
to exist

75

between the objects of Tricms and those of Sidvoia. The which have images or copies of themselves objects of under elKao-ia are themselves only images or copies of the objects
7rt<7Tt9

of mathematics,

and

of course it is a

commonplace that
el^i].
if

all

y^o-

fieva are like the

et S??

or are copies of the

Still

we must

remember that
is

all this is

metaphorical, and

taken too literally

misleading and even

false.

Plato himself shows this in the
yiyvo/j,eva

Parmenidcs as regards the relation between the
the
t$T].

and

If it holds literally at all, I

think

it

holds between

the actual changing individuals which are the objects of TrtVri? and the more real unchanging individuals which are the objects
of Sidvoia.
is

This

is

possibly suggested by the fact that
of the line

if

our

must be to hold, the second segment proportion the same size as the third segment. But perhaps this is to
press too far

what may merely be an accident without any
our advance so
the
far,

definite philosophical meaning.

Summing up
reasonable
division

we have

discovered with
of

the fourfold certainty general principles a difference of power involving a difference of objects.

This

is

fully borne

out by the allegory of the cave.

Further

proof or confirmation can only be obtained

the objects are and

how they

are different.

by considering what To do so as regards

any two

of the subdivisions will, of course, in itself

immensely

increase the probability as regards the other two subdivisions, that is to say in our case if we can show that the objects of

Sidvoia and of
objects of

eVtcrr////??

proper or vo^ais are different,

i.e.,

if

the

mathematics and those of philosophy are different, we have indefinitely added to the presumption that the objects

of elicaaia

and

TruiTt? are also different.

Needless to say we

hold very definitely that the objects of Btdvoia and eTnar^jLL^ are in Plato s view different, as Aristotle expressly said, and
that Plato was right in thinking so. But for this purpose at we can only refer to the limited justification in Adam s present

Edition of the Republic and also to some remarks in Burnet History of Greek Philosophy.

s

76

H.

J.

PATON.
el/cacria
TTLO-TIS

We

pass then to our special discussion of

and the
and the

objects of elKavia, objects of 7riaT*9.

and

of

how they

differ

from

Let us

first of all
is

sum up what

are to be our conclusions.

ingenuous and intuitive vision of the real. Its object is simply what appears, TO (^aivo^evov. It makes no For it there distinction between the different levels of reality.
6 A;

E

a a ia

the

first

is
if

no distinction yet made between the real and the unreal, or, you prefer it, real and unreal do not mean anything to it. It
:

cognitive and has an object, but it does not affirm or deny that is, it does not claim to be true. Truth and Falsehood,
is

Eeality and Unreality, Fact and Fiction, these are distinctions which have not yet arisen. It is identical with that alorO^a^

which is supposed by the Sophist to be knowledge, but which cannot be in contra diction with any other afoOrja-is because it does not yet judge,
or Intuition of the first part of the Theaetetus
i.e.,

because

it

does not yet lay claim to what
is

is

called Objective

Truth.

There

no word for

it

in English but

we may

call it

Imagination or the cognition of images, or again Intuition or the

mere looking

at objects.

Its object as
elKcov or image.

we might expect from

its

derivation

is

the

We must

not,
of

however,

call it a

in the

dangerous language

modern writers on

mental image, logic and

Nor again may we call it a real image as opposed psychology. to a mental image. It is not subjective as opposed to objective
These phrases when they mean anything mean a distinction between the real and the unreal, and in this first stage of consciousness, examined as it
nor objective as opposed to subjective.

must be from within, that
less

distinction has not yet arisen.

Still

can we say that it is mistaking the image for the thing, the unreal for the real. That is mere error, it is not el/cacTia. For
el/caaia we repeat again there is no distinction between the real and the unreal, and consequently there is no possibility of/ mistaking one for the other. There is no claim to truth, and
1

,

consequently there can be no possibility of error.

PLATO

S

THEORY OF

EIKASIA.

77

We
detail,

we
"

to give an indication of its objects in these appear to be of no metaphysical importance hope to show later that this is not so. The images* are

can

now proceed

and

if

firstly

shadows, secondly reflexions in water and in things that
all

are close grained and smooth and bright and

similar things

"

irpwrov
tcai ev T069

jj,ev

ra?

cr/a a?, eTreira

ra ev rot?
/cal
<pava

vSacri,

(^avrda/jLara

oaa

Trvtcvd re real

Xela

(TVveo-TTjKev KOI Trap

TO TOLOVTOV.

This
Plato
is

not further developed in the present passage as concerned with higher themes, but we learn from the
is

tenth book that the artist also holds a mirror up to nature, and

he appears to createf animals, plants and manfactured

articles

(the very things well as the earth and the sky and the gods and all things in heaven and in the House of Hades beneath the earth, but in
reality he offers us a

we

shall afterwards find belong to TrtVri?) as

We

find exactly the

mere ^avrao-^a or el/ccov of these things. same view in the Sophist. We have on

the one hand the things} made by God, not here the et S?; as in the Republic, but animals, plants and inanimate substances,

animals and their elements,
the other hand

fire

and water and the

like,

and on

we have the

things made by man, houses and

other manufactured articles.
Trio-res.

All this

is

of course the object of

But we must

set against these the

images made by
is

are the images images or appearances (^avrda^ara) which spring up of them selves in sleep or by day, e.g., a shadow when darkness comes in

the images made by man. to that in the "The Republic.

God and

The description

similar

made by God

the light of the

fire,

or in cases

where a double
it,

light,

that

external to an object and that belonging to

comes together

about bright and smooth objects, and creates a shape giving us
a sensation the reverse of what
VTTVOIS Kal
/j.ev

we

ordinarily

see."

Td

re ev

oaa
rco

fieO rj/nepav

^avrda^ara

avro<pvrj

\eyerai>

orav ev

Trvpl CTKOTOS eyyiyvrjTai,, SirrXovv Se TJVLK

av

* 510

a.

t 596

c.

}

265

c.

26G

b.

78
olftelov

H.

J.

PATOX.

</>&>?

re Kal a\\6rptop irepl ra Xa/UTrpa KOI \ela

el?

crvve\6ov

T
eZSo? air epy CLUTCH.

Now

whatever be the theory

of

reflexion in this passage

it is

clear that the things here spoken of

the images made by God are the same as those of the Republic, ^ the shadows and reflexions of real with the addition of the
things objects which appear to us in dreams. The similarity of this to the doctrine and of the Republic is in itself suffi language

ciently remarkable.
surprising in itself,
e.g.,

The addition
and
it is

of

dreams

is

not in the least

clearly suggested in the Republic,
of the three natures, gold, silver

414:d,

when

in the

myth

and bronze, Plato asserts that this early education of the guardians was just a dream below the earth and when he
describes the $L\o6ed}jLoves* as And we may note dreaming. here incidentally for the complete parallelism of the line that
-as

we

in el/cao-ia appear to be
is

dreaming about

yiyvo/jLeva, so the

mathematician!
o veipwTTovai

said to be dreaming,
it-trap

dreaming about TO oV

^lv irepl TO ov,

Se aSvrarov avrais ISeiv.

So far we have the images made by God, but we have also the images made by man as in the tenth book of the Republic. Not only do we make real houses, but the artist will for
paint
us another housej which for those who are awake
"
"

is

a sort of
olov ovap

dream created by man
avOp&Tnvov
eyprjyopocriv

It is this fact of the

possible for us to track

down

image made by man which makes it the Sophist to his lair and to

show the nature of error. Surely this would not be possible if the doctrine were of no metaphysical importance, and if we -shrink from art under the first putting activity of the soul, we must not
let this

stand in the

way

of recognizing the truth.
is

On

this point also
true.

we

shall maintain that Plato s doctrine

profoundly We have

now
476

got as the objects of eUaaia shadows and

c.

f 5336.

PLATO S THEORY OF EIKASIA.
reflexions, the
artist.

79
of

dreams of the

sleeper,

and the dreams
the

the

Let us turn to the
character of

Theaetetus to

perceive

common

all this. Here we have a preliminary stage of consciousness set against thinking about the world, set against

what
a"

is

here called

Sofa.

& 07)0-1$, sense
to

or intuition.

This preliminary stage is called It may be objected that we have

no right
el/cao-ia.

identify

The use

of different

Sofa with Trtcrn? and aiadr/a-i^ with words shows that we are dealing
of
is

different

with different things. To this we reply that the use words shows no such thing. Anyone who
is

acquainted with the works of Plato
of the precision
all

aware that in

spite

and consistency of his thinking he is not at Even in this careful about what we may call terminology.
which we are dealing he
as far as

particular part of the Republic with
varies his terminology

but never his argument

we

can see for no reason unless possibly for reasons of rhythm. Thus Sofa is first of all distinguished from yvcoais or eiriar^fir)
using these words indifferently, e.g., 478c, 477e. Later, 510-511, he divides eVtcrr^yu/T? into the subordinate divisions of Sidvoia

and

vorjcris.

When

he comes back

to this

in

534

i/o^crt?

is

the word for the whole section with Sidvota and cTrio-rtf^ as
its

subordinate divisions.
his

Still

more frequently

of course he

varies

which he

is

language according to the particular point with Thus in the Republic he speaks of the dealing.

objects of Sofa as ra ^iyvo^eva in order to

mark them

off as

comparatively unreal from the

eftfy

or ra ovra.

This does not

prevent him in the Theaetetus from calling the objects of Sofa ra ovra, i.e., real in comparison with the objects of cuarOrjo-ts. ^

For ourselves we can only say with Plato ov rrepl wopa-ros If he chooses to call the same thing by a a/jnj)io-^iJTjjo-i(f.
different

name, we shall not refuse
it is

to see his

meaning.
is

Now
stages in

clear that in the Theaetetus he

describing two

of Sidvoia

knowledge and two stages which are below the level and eTrtcmJ/^. In the Republic and in the Sophist

80

H.

J.

PATON.
to

(though
Sidvoia

we
in

shall

have

to

return

the

Sophixt

later)

he

appears to set forth the

same doctrine

as to the

much

the
if

than that

especially

same language. we are right in

two stages below What more probable
setting the Theactetus

between the Republic and the the two stages described Sophist in the three are the same ? If we find that the dialogues .same doctrine is about these two the
apparently taught
stages

change in the name will not prevent us from accepting
as one.

it

The Sofa
TTicrrt? of
e.g.,

of the Theaetetus certainly appears to be the the Republic and its objects appear to be the same, he mentions a wagon (i.e., a manufactured article) as such I

an

object.

do not think anyone will

find

difficulty

in

identifying

these.

than
it

elfcaa-ia.

We

aiaOrjo-is may appear do indeed get certain things classed under

But

to

be wider

get the whole of afoOrjcris, the whole vision ingenuous unthinking of reality whether in memory or in imagination, and in
addition, all that

which we might naturally expect to find. Thus we get is before us in dreams as we have had already in the and also what is before us in diseases* Sophist generally and in madness. So far we appear to be still in particularly elrcacria. But in addition and this is our difficulty we

what

we ordinarily call pure sense, which does not as yet involve judgment.

all

aia-Qya-i?

What we
intuition
is

suggest

is

this,

that

this general

ala6i]cr^ or

the same as elKaaia, but

more
it

detail,

and only now

is

described in get the full extension and meaning of
it

we now

made

clear.

Note that this is exactly what we should expect from the purpose of the different Both in the Republic dialogues. and in the Sophist we are dealing with particular problems. In the Republic we are dealing with the character of philosophy
and the training which must precede
157
it.

In the Sophist we

e.

PLATO
are concerned

S

THEORY OF

EIKASIA.

81

with

the nature of sophistry

and

error.

In
first

both we merely allude to our doctrine in regard to the
activity
of

the

knowing
before us.

mind
There

in
is

order

to

elucidate

the

point

we have

no reason in either for
its

giving us a comprehensive account of this activity for
sake,

own

In

the Theaetdus

it

is

quite

otherwise.

Here we are

I take it that primarily concerned with the lower stages only. the primary purpose of the Theaetetus is by an examination of

these lower stages to

show that they cannot give us knowledge.
knowledge when any intelligent disciple of Plato would
find
irt

We

are allowed to infer that
to the ciSy, as

we can only

we come

be sure to do.

It is ludicrous to say that
el S??.

the Theaetetus Plato

That theory is implied all Yet just because we are not concerned with it through. primarily, but with the lower stages, we naturally get a fuller account of these stages than we get elsewhere.
gives up the doctrine of the

In the
of this first

first

place then

;

what

is

the broad general character
?

stage of cognitive

experience

It is called afodrjo-is,

but this

is

neither

the sensation nor
rather, as

the perception of the

psychologist.

It

is

we have

said, the first

ingenuous

and intuitive vision
imagination as that

of the -soul
is

whether in

sense,

memory

or

before thinking begins.

We

have here

the bare or immediate object, presentation or appearance. And secondly, what is Plato s doctrine about it ? He appears
rather to accept than to reject the sophistical account of
it.

About

he seerns to urge three main points (1) that we have other objects not got at in this way (2) that if we consider it
it
:

;

way apart from thinking it becomes simply what we should call a stream of separate unrelated images i.e., what may naturally be described as the elxoves which are objects of
in this

and (3) that if in this the mind is merely passive the e IK acrici stream of images becomes simply the flux of Heraclitus in which we can find no foothold and in which it is impossible to
;

have any object before us at

all.

82

H.

J.

PATON.

It is true, indeed, that he does not use the
If

word eiKaaia or

we may hazard

a conjecture this

might be because

here he

not concerned to show that the appearance is in any sense like the natural object, as the natural object is like the
is

eiSo?

his

great

contention

in

the

Republic.

But he does

identify

our purposes
-

with (^avraaia* which is surely near enough for and hespeaks of the objects either as (fravrdcriJLaTa f a word which he uses alongside of eiKwv in the Republic and
cua-0rj<rt,s

.

of

eiSa)\ov in

the Sophist

<f)do-/jLara

ev r^uv

one place as (pacr/iaral a word which is, of course, used of the
or in
in dreams.

phantoms which appear
7ro0o9

He
is

also uses

the word

to indicate at least the

comparative

passivity of the soul.

Note particularly that

aio-Qrjo-is

not sense or sensation

though it includes it. Its object is simply TO (^aivo^evov, that which appears, and is what it appears, whether in dreams or
madness, whether in sense, memory, or imagination. It is what is called an idea in the works of modern logicians, as in the
"

"

"

phrase
It is

The Association

of

Ideas."

now
it

that,

we begin

to see its

metaphysical importance

and

to realize that it

was not without good reason that Plato
It is often

introduced

into the Republic.

suggested by

com A

mentators that

eltcao-ia indicates no special and separate way of but there have been many philosophers who have held knowing, that it is the only way of knowing, and that nothing more is

possible.
its

It

is

what Hume, who understands

it

far better than

stream of impressions and ideas. average By the agnostics of all ages from Protagoras to Hume it has been identified with the whole of knowledge, and its objects
supporters, calls the

have been identified with the whole

of reality.
is

The world
it

of

appearances is everything, everything seems what it is. It is reality for me.
of contradiction or of error.

what
is

seems and

There

no possibility

There

is

no such thing as Truth
sense, imagination,

and no such thing as Philosophy.
J

Memory,
155
a.

* 152

c.

t 1676.

|

1666.

PLATO S THEORY OF EIKASIA.

83

and

all

that

we

call

and that

is

the level which

Thinking or Knowledge are on one dead level, is described by Plato under the

heading of el/cacria. So far we have simply been trying to determine what Plato We must now as a matter of fact classed under eltcaoria.

endeavour to understand

why he
It will to

did

so,

and

this should enable

us to grasp his position more clearly.

We

hope

it

will also

enable us to justify

it.

probably be generally agreed
hallucinations, dreams,

both that

it

is

natural

class

and

\

perhaps even imagination under

el/cadla,

and

to consider these,

as offering us a special class of objects.

Any

doubts that are
s

entertained about the reasonableness of Plato

position will
its

most probably be felt and (2) in regard to the
it

(1) in regard tp sense

and

objects

activity and products of the artist. But before going on to examine these two questions in detail is necessary to state, more or less dogmatically, what are the

objects

and the activity

of TTIO-TIS, in order that

we may have
TTLO-T^

a

clearer understandin

of

the

difference

between

and

The objects of TTIOTI? as indicated by both the Republic and the Sophist are made by God, animals, plants, and so the_things on, and the things made by man, namely, manufactured
articles,

houses and chairs and what not.

These are distin

guished from the images made by God, shadows and reflexions and dreams, and from the images made by man, as, for instance,
in

painting.

In other words, what

we have here

are

real

things, the things of our ordinary world. prefer to call this the actual world, rather than the real world, for the word real
strictly speaking, belongs only to the el
8>;.

We

The

activity of TTLCTT^

is

best called Judgment.
"

Plato says in the Theaetetus*

The when thinking appears to me
"

soul,"

to

be just talking, asking questions of herself and answering them, When she has arrived at a decision, affirming and denying.
* 190

a.

84
either gradually or

H.

J.

PATON.

by sudden impulse, and has at last agreed and does not doubt, that is her opinion or Sofa," and we may
add her
belief or irlans.
TI
TJ

TOVTO yap

/AOL

lvSd\\eTizi Siavo-

OVK aX\o
/,

$ia\eyeo~0ai,, avTT)

eavrrjv epa}TCt)o~a teal

ov (frdcrKovaa. OTUV Se opicracra, eiTe Ppa&vTepov erre KOL teal o^vrepov eTragaaa, TO avro
teal

(pdcrKovcra teal

"fiiy

<f}

pr) SicrTdrj,

So^av ravTrjv

TiOej^ei avr?;?.

From

the So2)hist

we

get the clear statement, fully borne out by the general argu ment both of the Sophist and the Thcactctus, that the charac
teristics of

Judgment
is

are

:

(1) that

it

affirms or denies

;*

and

(2) that

it is

true or false.f

Further there
aio-Orjcns

present in

it

two elements
elicaa-ia

an element

of \

taken as identical with

and an element

of

pure thinking.j

This element of thinking
of

may

apparently be

either the inferior thinking

mathematical Scdvoia or the
It
is

superior

thinking of philosophy.

this

element which
it

leads us on from TrtVrt? to pure thought about ra ovra, and
is

the combination of the element of
error

afoOrjo-i?

and that of
opinion
lies

thinking which renders
thoughts, but eV

possible.

False

neither in the intuitions in relation to one another nor in the
TTJ

avvd^ei

aladjjcreais TT/DO? bidvoiav, in the

combination of intuition and thinking. out by the Sophist.

This

is

fully borne

The

activity

then

is

Judgment.

It

is

Affirmative

or

Negative, True or False.

It involves an element of aio-6i]o-L^

and an element

of thought.

This element of thought grasps

among
that
it

other things

ovcria\\ or being or reality,

and

this implies

of its object. Every an existential judgment. By thinking alone we judgment are able to distinguish between the real and the unreal,
is

affirms or denies the existence

between being and not-being
exist for elicaa-ia.

a

distinction

which does not

And we now

understand how the objects of

* 263

e.

t 2636.

J
||

Th. 1946.
e.

Th. 195

c.

Th 186

PLATO S THEOIIY OF EIKASIA.

85

judgment are the ordinary things
so-called real world.

of

the

actual existent or

That
objects

is

to

say like

elfcaa-ia^

Triar^ has under
it

it

many
It

and we must not narrow
by Plato
all

down
in

to tire

instances

given

in a

special connexion

the

Republic.

comprises
to false,

and
to

opposed
that
is

to be true as opposed which are actual and objective as ytyvofieva unreal and subjective. It comprises in a word all

assertions

which claim

all

t
t

not

aia-Qrja-is

on the one hand or pure mathematics and
It is a posteriori or empirical
aicr6rj(7tv*
It

philosophy on the other.
ledge, yv&o-is

know

Kara

rrjv

includes all empirical

science and all history as well as the ordinary

judgments of the ordinary man, ra TWV TTO\\WV TroAAa z/o/u/za KO\OV re

Having now indicated the nature
:

of TTLCTT^

we may return

with more insight to our two main problems in regaid to elxaa-la and (2) the question of art. (I) the question of sense
;

The question of sense and its objects is exceedingly difficult, and we may be unable to thread our way successfully
through all its mazes, but we note in the first place that this view is not so strange to the view of the Republic
as

might at
artist

first

sight

appear.

In the tenth book Plato
the
eltcwv

practically identifies
of the

the sensible appearance with
mirror.

or

the

The

artist

is

indeed said to
is

imitate the bed

made by

the craftsmen, but that actual bed

one and yet

it

appears different from different points of view.

There

is

a difference between

what

it

is

and what

it

appears,!
this bears

ola ecrnv and ola fyalverai,.

Note incidentally how
line.
it

out the complete parallelism of the

As
is

is

the etSo? of
is

bed to the

many

actual beds in which

manifested, so

each actual bed

to the

many appearances
eiSojXa.J

of it in sense.

But

note especially that these appearances of the bed to sense are
called

^avrdcr/jiara or

It

is

these

appearances to

* Th. 193

e.

t

598

a.

}

598

6.

I

86

H.

J.

PATON.

sense,
artist,

and not the actual bed, which are imitated by the and these ^avTao-^ara or i$co\a are actually like the
of the painter.

work

on exactly the same level as the shadows or reflexions or images whether

The appearances

to sense are

made by God we get a clear
especially sight

or

made by man.
of

confirmation
is

Again in the view that
eliccKria.

Rep.
all

602 cd

cucOijais

included

under

We

are given a

or simple case of the passage from the appearances to a reality Plato points out that so far as sight is actuality behind them.

concerned,
outside, a

things

thing
it

may appear bent in water and straight may appear concave when it is convex and
concave, and again
if

convex when

is

we have two

things

equal in size they
-

appear different in size to the eye according

as they are near or far away.

These appearances we suggest

we take them merely at their face elicbvts, are satisfied with making them clear to value, so long as we ourselves and do not seek to go behind them, we are in
are

and

so long as

eiKaa-ia.

There

is

so far

no question

of error.

appear so. Every appearance is just different about it. But if we want to know what the thing actually is, we get at it by counting and weighing and measuring, so that

The things do and that is all

not the apparent size, shape and quantity may rule in our souls but rather the-. actual size, shape and quantity determined

by mathematical measurement
api@/j.eli>

or calculation

TO ^e-rpelv KCU
to Trtcrrt?, to

KOI lardrac*
of

By

this

means we pass

the actual world

solid

bodies

in fact to animals, plants,

and manufactured

articles.

secondary qualities are concerned

This means clearly that as far as compare Theaetetus, 154 a

we must always be
are

satisfied

with

elicaa-ia

or cuarOycris.

They

what they seem and they may seem men or to the same man at different
;

different to different

times.

a different level qualities are on

in regard to

But primary them we can

* R. 602

d.

PLATO

S

THEORY OF

EIKASIA.

87

to distinguish between the merely apparent which is given el/cacTia and the actual which is determined by TTLCTT^.

And
reflexion

surely in this Plato
these

is

right.

Like any other image or

appearances of sense are mere appearances.

They

what they seem and they seem what they are. Each Suvajus gives us its proper objects, we see colours and we hear sounds, but ra Koiva* sameness and difference, likeness and
are

unlikeness, and above all ovcria or being cannot be got through

Thus aiaO^o-^ apart from thinking has no part in Clearly it must overlap and therefore it has no part in truth.
sense.

be classed not under

TTICTTIS

but under etVaata, though there

are certain difficulties which
It
is

we

will recur to later.

no use saying that the objects of sense perception are distinguished from those of dreams or imagination by following

upon what
difficulty of
iKa<Tia

is

called

an external stimulus.
this

Apart from the

knowing what

not from within but from without.
to eltcaata afterwards

means, we are here describing We can indeed
with a knowledge of mathe

come back

matical science and with an explicit metaphysic and we can distinguish its objects in this way, but el/c curia itself knows

nothing of external stimuli for the first stage of cognition all objects are on the same level of reality, and it makes no
;

distinction of less

and more

real within

them.

It

is

for this

reason that

Hume,

that most consistent of

all sceptics

and that

subtlest defender of elicaaia as coextensive with the whole of

knowledge, refused to distinguish impressions from ideas by reference to an external reality, and distinguished them only

by

less or greater

ignored the fact
that

thuit

degrees of vividness, though in so doing he the images of our dreams are often more
life.

vivid than those of our waking

It is also for this reason

Hobbes
"

in the first chapter of the Leviathan informs us in all cases nothing but original
to us is fancy the
fancy,"

that
"

sense

is

and again

their

appearance

same waking that
t 186
e.

dreaming."

* Tk. 185-6.

I

2

88

H.

J.

PATON.

in a position to understand better the relation between the objects of dKaala and thsse of TTLO-T^. It is on the level of -irians that we only pass to the actual which is consciously distinguished from the apparent. The typical case of this is the determination of the actual

We

are

now

primary qualities by some sort of mathematical measurement or thinking, epyov \oyiariKov, Pi. 602 e.
Into the exact character of this mathematical thinking we need not enter in detailthat would belong to a discussion of Trto-rt? and we are primarily concerned only with ei/caaia. But it is not simply a matter of measurement. The actual
size of

to us in elxaa-la.

any object we never can see at all. The size of any object
is

It can never

appear
is

as far as elicaa-ia

concerned

never twice the same.

If it is far

enough away
it

it

will appear a

mere

point,

if

it

is

near enough

will blot out

the heavens. This applies as much to a measure, e.g., a foot rule as to anything else. When we say that an object is a foot between two long we are not merely stating an

equation

infinite series,

are not merely saying that if we have the apparent object and the apparent foot rule in juxta-position

we

whether near the eye or
apparent
size.

We

they always have the same do not think that either the foot rule or
it

far

from

the object actually becomes
eye.

smaller as

it

recedes from
is

the

On
is

the contrary,

we think
This
of

their actual size

unvarying
to

and

always relatively in the

same proportion
is

other

actually

unvarying

sizes.

believed

to

be the only

reasonable theory capable
sense.

When

one

reflects

on

explaining our experiences in the extraordinary amount of

subtle scientific thinking involved in reaching this conclusion thinking in comparison with which the discovery of the law of

gravitation

is

mere

child

first few years of childhood, impressed with a profound respect for the intellectual attainments of even the meanest of the human race.
it is

that

done by

all of

s play us in the

and when one remembers

one

is

This brings us to another point, that the objects of

TTL

PLATO S THEORY OF EIKASIA.
S

89
--

as
i.e.,

opposed to those of el/cao-la are wholly they can never be given to us in sense.

unperceivable,

We

have seen

that the actual size of

any object

is

unperceivable and that we

can identify the actual size with no one of the infinite apparent
sizes.-

The same obviously
If

applies

to

all

solid shapes

what

soever.

we

take even such an elementary figure as a solid

regular sphere we can certainly never see it. All we can see is an infinite number of apparent hemispherical shapes varying infinitely both in colour and in size. By thinking about these sensations we conclude they can only be explained by the

,

hypothesis
size

that behind
of

them

is

a solid sphere unvarying in

being seen, i.e., that they are the many one solid sphere. When one comes to varying appearances the theories of the scientists who of course are only carrying on the same process more systematically this becomes still
of

and incapable

more

clear.
in,

The atoms and electrons

of

the

scientist

are

believed

but they can certainly never be seen. Our view then is meant to be a defence of so-called realism /

.

against the idealists of the Berkeleyan school, a defence of the

ordinary

man s

belief in the existence of a solid
of

and
It
is

relatively
also

permanent world
true against those
is

actual

things in

space.

an

attempt at least partially to justify the claims of science to be

who hold
or

like

Benedetto Croce

that science

purposes of convenience. The actual solid bodies of ordinary consciousness and science are no doubt an invention, a construction they are
fiction

a mere

invention

made by

us for

not and cannot be given in sense but if their existence is the only reasonable explanation of our experience in sense and is the condition of our having such an experience, we are justified
in

believing in their actual existence
of idealism,
it

and

in

rejecting

the

unworkable theory
difficulties as
detail.

which involves

itself in

hopeless

soon as

tries to

understand our experience in
is

On

the other hand Plato

surely right in calling our
:;

cognition of

We

such objects mere faith or Trt cn-i? and not knowledge. cannot know certainly anything but an intelligible necessity,

H.

J.

PATON.

which excludes

of itself

any possible

alternative.

This

we

are

never in a position

about the general that actual solid bodies exist or about theory any particular

to assert positively either

attempt to work out that theory in detail. And of course we must admit that the relation between our sensations and actual
solid bodies

at first so simple

involves perhaps insurmount

able difficulties, especially if we attempt to reverse the process of transition and to understand how ether waves or chemical

changes in the brain can become for instance a sensation of red. But here we may be asking ourselves wrong questions or
creating
difficulties

for

ourselves,

and

in

any case these
Plato

difficulties are riot greater

than those which meet the idealist

when he

denies the existence of solid bodies altogether.

would perhaps put down these difficulties to the positively unreal and unintelligible character of all yiyvo/jieva.

We
idealist

would add here that these
as for the realist

difficulties

arise

for

the

as soon as he tries to explain the
different spirits.

possibility of

communication between
is

A note

worthy instance of this
in

Croce
]N

s

intolerably confused account
is

Although assume the existence of other spirits besides themselves, they have no real reason for doing so which would not equally justify them in assuming the existence of actual solid bodies. Both assumptions are a matter of reasonable faith and not of knowledge, and indeed to be bound up with one another. they appear We pass to other spirits by a kind of syllogism in the sphere of TTLO-TL^

of the extrinsecation of art.

T

or

this

an accident.

most cases the

idealists

appear

to

the

These variously coloured appearances are, we say, explained by movements of an actual solid human body. These move
in

ments

eternal spirit.

body

is

turn can be explained only by the volition of an This appearance is the sign of a This body. the sign of a spirit. Thus we pass from heard sounds or

seen colours to a spirit which is their source. The second of the argument involves some sort of stage philosophic thinking as opposed to the mathematical of the first thinking stage, but

PLATO
it

S

THEORY OF EIKASIA

91

depend on the existence of the first stage, and in any case the reasoning is of the same general character throughout.
seems
to If

we

reject the first

judgment, we ought logically

to reject the

second.
are prepared then on our doctrine to accept the truths of the scientist as a matter of reasonable faith, but we are not

We

without an answer to him when he goes on to maintain that these unperceivable objects his atoms and electrons- are
reality

and the only

reality, or

when he

existence of spirit by what
tradiction in terms.

We

is nothing more do not say that he

stupidly denies the or less than a con
is

wrong

in attri

buting to his atoms a greater reality and intelligibility than
belongs to the things of sense and in holding that the things of sense are only intelligible in the light of them. do not even

We

say that the things of sense are after all in some sense real, and
that

what he

calls

his

knowledge

is

probable

hypothesis.

What we
s

do

only reasonable faith or He has say is this.

arbitrarily stopped in the soul

journey towards reality at a

stage which can never satisfy the divine spirit of man, which can never be intelligible in itself and which is always in some

sense unreal.

with the dyd\/jiara of the cave as these are visible in the light of an earthly fire. His objects are
is satisfied

He

still

unintelligible

and

unreal.

They are

in perpetual flux

and

continually become other than they are.

The source

of their

reality and intelligibility lies even for the scientist in something other than themselves, and he continues for ever in an unending

process of explaining
itself

them

as the effects of

some cause which

is

The very relation of equally unintelligible and unreal. cause and effect he does not profess in any way to understand.
His objects are If he is being.
still

to attain reality or truth

tumbling about between being and nothe must continue the

journey upon which he has only entered. Just as he sought the one unperceived reality behind the many appearances, the one relatively permanent body behind the many fleeting and
transitory images, so he

must again seek the one

intelligible

92

H.

,T.

PATOX.

non-spatial reality behind the many things of space, the one eternal reality behind the flux of bodies. Once more he must

pass from the sign to the thing signified, from the conditioned to the condition, from his many objects to the meaning which

behind and explains them he must pass in short from the many to the one, from the changing to the eternal, from the unreal to the real, from the individual to the universal, from the
lies
"/iryvofAevov
.

to the elSos.

This second transition he must make,

I

by easy methods of counting and weighing and measuring, but by the more difficult method of dialectic though he may be prepared for this, perhaps he must be prepared for And in this process he may never rest this, by mathematics.
the
till

not

he passes to the absolute one which

lies

behind and explains

the

many

etSrj,

the unconditioned condition of all things, the

one which

is

reality itself

and more than
the Idea of the
0:1

reality, self-sufficient,

self-intelligible, self-real

Good

itself.

We

have said enough

this topic at least to suggest the

importance of Plato s thought. If our view is a right one, we have made good at least a plausible case for a real difference between the two kinds of objects, and what is more, we have by
so doing established a

most remarkable parallelism or analogy between the different segments of the line and their objects.
of these points
to

we shall return later, but at present we our second question, the question whether Art is properly to be included under this section.
must pass

To both

Our

first

point

is

that

question in the affirmative.
actual world there
in
is

we have already answered Until we have a reference to

the the

no distinction possible, as Plato suggests

Theaetetus, between sense, memory and imagination. This view is fully con finned by David Hume. We are only

the

able to distinguish these from one another because

we

consider

their relation to an actual world, sense having an actual object

immediately behind it, memory having had an actual object behind in the past, and imagination having no actual object behind it at any time. That is to say, when we come to TTLO-TI^ and look
it

PLATO S THEORY OF EIKASIA.

93
-

back upon elKao-ia, we can make certain distinctions within it, but from the point of view of the man in el/caaia these distinc
tions simply do not exist.

Imagination qua imagination takes no
,

account of the difference between the apparent and the actual and is therefore properly included in el/cao-ia.
If
it

we admit

this in regard to imagination,

we have admitted
For the

already in regard to the artistic activity as a whole.
is

function of the artist qud artist
less

nothing more and nothing
clear or express

than imagination,

i.e.,

the

making images

to himself.

Art

is riot

by means

of musical

at all the communicating of these images instruments or wrought stone or air-waves

or chemical substances disposed upon a canvas. Art is the inner vision and the inner vision alone/ whether obtained as

we

say afterwards from the vantage ground of

TT LO-TL^

in

mere

by hearing sounds from an actual instrument or The beauty of seeing colours suggested by an actual canvas. the vision depends solely upon its own internal character as an
imagination or
appearance, and not upon these subsequent irrelevant and nonsesthetic considerations.

The

artist is a

dreamer or maker
for those

of

dreams.

His work

is

a

dream made by man
.

who

are

awake, ovap av6 pour LVOV eypyynpocw

The

artist

has surely

all

the marks of the stage of

el/cao-ia.

He
is

bids farewell to truth

therefore to falsehood.

He

and ^aipelv TO a\rj0es kdaavres does not assert or deny anything, it

impossible to contradict

true or false
point.

him, what he says can only be called by departing completely from the aesthetic stand

He

is

merely looking
to elrcao-ia

at his object

and making

it

express

or clear to himself.

All these characteristics are precisely those

which belong
to the artist

and distinguish

it

from Trlar^.

As

far

as aesthetic considerations are concerned,

He

is

it is wholly indifferent whether the originals of his eiVo^e? exist or not. satisfied with his appearance and with his appearance

alone.

That

this stage is

the earliest in the development of the

mind

is

borne out by experience.

The savage and the

child

94

H.

J.

PATON.
life of

alike are occupied chiefly with the

sense and the

life

of

imagination.

Indeed, they are said not to distinguish clearly

between what they see and what they imagine, which means of course that they have not yet got a secure hold upon Trt o-n?. In the history of literature also it has been observed as a curious
paradox that poetry precedes prose, and in general that art a precedes science and history. This paradox we are now in to understand. On the other hand, we must not make position
too

In actual confirmation from experience. experience things are inextricably confused, and the temporal order is a very imperfect indication of the logical order.
of

much

this

it is

So far we have been able to justify Plato s position, but only fair to add that there are certain difficulties in regard

to his doctrine
,

surmount.
is

We

which we are not in a position at present to have still to take into account the fact that Art

not passive, and that, although it must always be sensuous, it is not confined to objects which are given to us directly in what we call sense. The latter point I think Plato admits, although

he

is

inclined to ignore

it.

His attitude

to the

former

is

not I

think quite clear.
not passive, we but that might naturally reply that sense is not passive either, There must be an it definitely involves an activity of the soul. we should have nothing immediate element in it, for otherwise

In regard to the former point that Art

is

before us at

all,

but,

the activity of the soul in holding together the past
present,

on the other hand, we must always have and the

and

also in distinguishing

and comparing

objects, or

once again we should have nothing before us at all. That is to immediate element of sense there must say, in addition to the be some sort of active intellectual element, an element which, sameness or although not reflecting upon likeness or unlikeness, or appearances clear to difference, is yet making the objects
itself

by an implicit recognition

of their presence.

Such indeed
in

regard to appears to be the argument that if you take it as mere sense you are reduced to
of

the

Thcactetus

,

95
contradiction and absurdity.
his favourite
objects,

Plato there brings forward again
different

we

powers have different see colours and hear sounds,* but just as we cannot

argument that

see sounds or hear colours, so

we cannot

see or hear likeness

or unlikeness, sameness or difference, oneness

again being or value of any kind the good and the evil. In a word ra Koiva must be seen
soul
itself

and manyness, and the beautiful and the ugly,
1

v the
;

and without the aid

of

these, pure

ala9i](.

is

apparently impossible, thougli in Th., 186 c, he Instead, however, of going on to explain suggest the contrary. how these may enter into aia6r}ai$ without its becoming Sofa,
to

seems

he passes straight to an examination of Sofa, which we have so far identified with TTLO-T^. Obviously, however, if eiKaaia is the

same
in

as

a taOrja-is, and
give some

if

it

is

to

remain distinct from Trlcms,

we must
it,

sort of account of the intellectual element

and how that

is

possible without its immediately

becoming
to

vnVrt? or Sofa.

However dangerous then the admission may be theory, we must insist that even in what we call sense

our
is

there

an activity of the soul, and without this activity of the soul which recognises the implicit likeness and unlikeness of its
seen colours and heard sounds,
or hearing at
all.

we could not have

either seeing

The

sophistical view which denies activity to
reject.

the soul in sense
If
of

we must simply

we

take up this position in regard to what from the point

view

regard to
far

so still more in what from the same point of view we call art. In so as art is and always must be sensuous it involves the
of TT/cjTi?
call

we

sense,

w e must do
r

intelligent activity of the soul
its

necessary to distinguish objects from one another and to hold them together in one
is

which

whole.

But
if

art

is

more than merely sensuous.

Plato, indeed,

speaks as

the painter merely imitated or recreated one of

the innumerable ^avrdcr^ara or sensible appearances of a bed,
* 185

a.

96

H.

J.

PATON.

but he also speaks of the tragedian as imitating a good or bad trifle grudgingly that it is very ?}0o9,* although he insists a
difficult

to imitate

a good ?}#o?.

However

that

may

be

it

is

clear from this and many other passages, and, indeed, from the briefest consideration of the history of literature, that art can
imitate, or as
or bad character, say create, a good The artist sense at all. which, of course, can never be given to can indeed imitate all thingsf in heaven and in the House of

we should
"

Hades beneath the

earth."

Hence
bodies

it

appears that

and to

when we have risen to the solid back to the judgments of value, we can fall
of

ingenuous point
artists,

view about them and dream about them as
turn

so

that

they in

become

to

us appearances

or

shadows, about which we ask no further questions.

Even
enter

mathematical figures and
into
eifcaa-ia

philosophic
to

universals

may

express an individual they help It is only because we have learnt to character or situation. the actual, and to understand distinguish the apparent from our actual human life, that we can dream about individual
so
far

as

intelligible characters as,

e.g.,

in novels

and

plays.

It

seems

nonsense to say that the character of Hamlet is less intelligible to Shakespeare than the character of Julius Caesar is to

Mommsen.
but
is

Art

is

still

distinct

from philosophy and history,

it

has a comprehension of the universal in so far as that
".n

an imagined individual character. however, does not alter or affect our main conten this, The dramatist is not asserting tions in regard to elfcacrla. more than the musician or anything or denying anything any He makes no claim to truth, and, therefore, the painter.
implicit

All

cannot be charged with falsehood. He is concerned only with his individual object, and for him the distinction between the

between the yiyvo^vov and apparent and the actual, or, again, He is concerned with his the elSos, cannot be said to exist.
*
604
t 596

ft.

e.

c.

PLATO
object, not

S

THEORY OF

EIKA2IA,

97

as

reproduction of

an instance of a philosophic truth, or as a an actual fact, but as an appearance and an

appearance alone.

The

artist is

when

distinction in regard to the objects also remains. The not dealing with the same thing as the historian, even his characters have had historic originals, as, e.g., in

Shakespeare s Julius Cresar, Shakespeare does not assert that, as a matter of fact, Mark Antony made his famous speech, or

even that he actually was that sort of person. He is dealing not with the real Mark Antony but with a shadow or reflexion
cast

by him.

The excellence

of his

work depends upon
its

its

own

internal structure, and not
historical events.
i-t

upon

resemblance to actual

any merit in such a resemblance would be a merit which was definitely not aesthetic. The
If there is

that

only verisimilitude we have a right to ask from the artist is his work should be like itself, i.e., that it should be

internally coherent, or, in a word, aesthetically good.

Again, in spite

of

what we have
its

said

of

the
if

implicit

universal in art, and the necessity of

presence,

we

are to

have an individual object at all, the object of the artist is an imagined individual and an imagined individual alone. He is
concerned only with making clear to himself the individual and unique lineaments of his immediate object, not with determin
ing what actual object lay behind it and suggested it, nor with generalising about it, nor again with working out its mathe matical implications or philosophic conditions. There can be

no greater error about art than generalities or universals, or worse

to
still

imagine it begins with with facts, and seeks to

communicate them
appearances.

to us
artists
all.

The

who do

through the medium of individual that are bad artists, or, in a

word, are not artists at

To the

artist art is not the sign of
it
is

anything other than
itself.

itself.

Bather

wholly satisfying in
the

of art,

whatever

Whatever may be the it may seem

logical implications of
to

work

be afterwards to the philos
the artist
is

opher, the scientist, or the

critic, for

just this, this

98

II.

J.

PATON.

unique and individual child the whole world.

of his fancy,

and nothing

else in

must indeed be on our guard against certain super stitions which throw doubt upon this doctrine. It is maintained for instance, that to the very constitution and character owing
of language
it

We

individual.
v

If this

can express only the universal and never the were true it would indeed be fatal to our
e.y.,

theory.

Mr. Bradley,

Principles of Logic,

p.

47-9, says,

following Hegel, that

we can never express
the
different

the individual, even

although he admits

extraordinary consequence that we

always say something
"
"

from what we mean.

The word

this

for

instance

he asserts to be a universal, which he
"

curiously describes as a

symbol v:Jwse meaning extends to and

covers innumerable

instances."

But

this is surely a confusion.

The word
order in

"

"

this

torn from

its

actual context and placed in

the

frigid

pages of a

dictionary
it

may

possibly be

described in such a way.

But

living as

does in the actual

!
;

men, unique in its context and its tone, it does express its unique object and The ^nothing else in heaven or earth. same applies to all the words of the poet in the actual poem,
speech of

;

whatever be the case with the quite other words grammarian and the lexicographer. It is ridiculous
scientist to vivisect a
is

of

the
the
it

of

work

of art

and then

to

complain that
to the

not alive.

The same considerations
imaginative people
of a

are a sufficient
if

answer

un

who

declare that

you examine the words

poem you
if

will see that they do assert or
to consider

Of course

you refuse

a

poem
it

deny something. as a unique and

indivisible living thing,

and abstract from

certain dead things

which you

call

words with fixed meanings, you can say anything

about this dead abstraction that you please.

Any

sentence in

a poem might, in a different context, be an assertion of actual That does not alter the fact that in its living reality it is fact.

and individual

nothing of the kind, but is simply the expression of a unique el/cuv on appearance. If we wish to know

PLATO

S

THEORY OF

EIKASIA.

99

whether any particular expression is in iiKacria or irians, we must take it not as an abstraction but in its full and living reality, and ask whether or not it claims to assert anything or If it does, it is not elKaaia and it is not Art. to be true.

We may
to offer

an
is

observe here that our theory, although it appears intelligible interpretation of the general theory of
not without certain difficulties in regard to the in the Republic. These difficulties arise
\

the

line,

language used by Plato

especially in regard to our contention that elKao-ia cannot be true or false, but is satisfied with alone. It is

appearances

only

fair to

mention what some

of these difficulties are.

Firstly, he says, in regard to

dreaming*
"that

which we know

to

be

el/cacrla

that

it

is

thinking

something is not really like it but which it is like TO opoiov TV
"

is

thing which is like the same thing as that
a

/z>;

OJJLOIOV

a\\ avro

TJJTJTMC

elvaL

co

eoLKev.

He

is

referring to those

who mistake

the

many

beautifuls for the one beautiful.
it

If this is to be

taken literally

our position, but we must reply that it is a description of this stage not as it is in itself, but as it would appear to one who stood on a higher plane. The
fatal to
<f>t,\o0a/jLove?

would be

have not really made the distinction and confused between the that would be an error in things distinguished Sofa they have failed to make the distinction and can
altogether

only

loosely be said to be mistaking one thing for another. With a similar looseness of terminology he describes the poet as having opdrj TTLO-T^ and op6r, Sofa} about his object if he

obeys

the person

who

uses the object imitated.

That would
is

mean
to

strictly.

him

that the artist could have a false Sofa, which as an artist. Indeed we know that the

impossible

artist

cannot

properly speaking have any Sofa or irian? at all. If anything is clear in Plato that is clear, and when we add that he speaks of the user} of the thing having eWri^, we see at once that he is not using the words in their technical but is
sense,

merely

* 476

c.

t 601

e.

t

602

a.

100

H.

J.

PATON.

leading us up to the conclusion* that the artist imitates only He imitates a thing as it appears, appearances.

generally,

appears beautiful to the many and the but that even if it were true does not alter the fact ignorant, that he is just imitating or creating an appearance and not it. In fact the reason why Plato is .judging condemning him is
it

Plato suggests, as

ijust because
i

he does not judge, he
of the

is

blaming the

artist for

not

being a scientist or an historian.

Again the allegory

men

are always in

eitcaa-ia.

cave appears to suggest that most Perhaps Plato actually thought

^ ^

mere

they were, as he apparently thought the will of most men was desire or eTrtdv/JL^rtKov, which in our view is bound up with

eiKacria, as #fyu,oetSe? is

with TTLO-T^ and \O*/LCTTLKOV with

v6r)<ns.

Most men
behind
it.

are satisfied with the seeming good and don t go On the other hand all men do go behind appearances

to actual

animals, plants and manufactured articles and are,
TTLO-TL^.
it is

therefore, in

If

the allegory of

the cave does not

suggest this
details.

because no allegory can

be perfect in

all

Again
,

in

516

c

we

are told that the

men

in the cave iw4

j

not merely look at present appearances, but remember past appearances and guess about future ones. This is probably the ordinary meaning of elfcdgeiv, to guess without real understand
ing.
If Plato

means

a

mere pleasant exercise
in the future, this

of the imagination
is

about what

may happen
if it

quite properly
it is

called el/caata, but
iria-Tis

involves any claim to truth,
it

really

and we must put

down
Plato

to the difficulty of

making an
con-

allegory exact.

Lastly

we may

note

s

statement as regards

tendingf
the

in the law-courts

images which cast
r]

about the shadows of justice and the shadows, Trepl TCOV rov Bi/calov
cr/cial.

aKiwv

dyaXfj.drcop

wv a!

The philosopher who has
first

been concerned with justice

itself at

finds it difficult to

6026.

PLATO

S

THEORY OF

EIKA^IA..

101

talk about the ayd\/j,ara of justice,
acts.

i.e.,

actual just laws and
?

But what

are the shadows cast by these

They are

perhaps the purely imaginative pictures drawn by rhetoricians and politicians not so much from a desire to mislead that

would be mere lying

on the emotions of the Great Beast.
our view that the artist
is

but from a desire to please and to workIncidentally this bears out
concerned
not
only

with the

shadows or appearances of actual objects in sense, but that all things in heaven and earth, historical facts and even philo
sophic truths
deal.

may

cast

shadows with which the
to the objects of art

artist

may
!

There are no limits
is

except that
;

Art

with making clear a mere appearance or shadow and does not ask about its truth or reality.
satisfied

But we must pass on
position,
it.

to a

general

summing up

of

our

and a

brief

We

began from Plato
difference of

examination of the general objections to s argument about S6%a and CTTAO-T^/A?;,
their objects
;

and the

and from

his insistence

on the proportion between the smaller segments of the line and these two fundamental ones we suggested that the objects of the different segments must be different. These objects
in the case of

the two lower segments and especially in the

case of

the lowest of all

we have examined, and have made

out at least a plausible case for their difference both as regards sense and as regards imagination or art. We are of course

prepared to do the same

for the superior

segments of Siavoia
out, success as

and

vorjais, and, as

we have already pointed

regards the lower two

segments indefinitely strengthens our case as regards the upper, and vice vcrsd. It must be observed further that, although we began from
Plato
s

insistence on the

proportion and inferred from

it

a

sharp difference in the objects, our examination of the objects
has, I venture to suggest,

thrown a flood of light on what is meant by the proportion itself. We have come across a series of most remarkable parallels in regard to the different tran
sitions involved in this account of

knowledge.

If Plato begins

K

102

H.

J.

PATON.
the one etSo? and the
find
V

with a sharp distinction between,

e.g.,

many
:

beds, nothing

is

more natural that he should

a

remarkable parallel the one bed and its
elfcao-la

in

an equally sharp distinction between The advance from many appearances.
that

to

TTLCTTI^,

like

from Sofa

to

eVto-T^/t^, is

an

advance from the

many

to the one.

Similarly, the advance
e.g.,

from Sidvoia

to vo^ais is also

an advance from,
to

the

many

mathematical ones which are ael ovra
oneness
itself.

the

one etSo? or

Each

transition

is

towards greater reality and

intelligibility,

and each upper segment requires the presence

an element given by the lower segment, although it is not Even in regard to the primarily concerned with that.
of

unfortunate use of pi^ais the object of elKaaia does not imitate the object of Tr/art? any more than the yiyvb^evov These are mere phrases intended to lead imitates the elSos.
the pupil up to a grasp of the true relation. As regards the bvvanw, he appears to be arguing that they

v ^

ure really different: (1) as having different objects; and (2) as is to say, you may develop having different functions. That
for instance, from any one of them indefinitely you may rise, mere sense to the highest products of art but you will never Art could never in this way pass into the higher Svvapis. science or history could never become become science or

history,

a priori mathematics, and a priori mathematics could never become philosophy. Each of the higher segments requires the but it must definitely make a fresh previous one as its basis,
start.

Now
to

it

may

be contended that such a view

is

Art,

and

that

such sharp breaks or

transitions

derogatory cannot

exist.

As regards
really so.
Republic,
stupid,

the

first

point,

we must answer

that

it

is

not

Plato indeed was unkind to art, at least in the and some of his remarks appear to be both bigoted and
to taking

attacks are the errors due though even here, what he
is

to substituting art for philosophy or history, that

PLATO S THEORY OF EIKA2IA.
.art as true.

103

We
is if

must have the (pap^a/cov*
are to avoid pollution.
his general
is

Art really
Plato
s

we
in

knowing what But whatever be
of
is

errors

detail,

position

in

no way

derogatory to Art.
all

Etacrta

a necessary stage in cognition,

our material for thinking

is

given to us through

it,

and we

must continually go back to it would add also, though Plato
good and satisfying in itself. who are the real contenmers
transition

for refreshing
is

and new

life.

We
it is

less

clear on this, that

It is the

of art, for

opponents of this doctrine by insisting on a gradual

merely an inferior kind of and philosophy, to be completely swallowed up and with the advance in knowledge. This would make superseded
art

they would

make

history

.

the value of art

something other th an itself, in the philoor general truth that it sophical conveyed or in the historical
facts

lie in

.

which

it

represented.

Our view, on

the other hand, can

recognise the

autonomy

of this activity

and maintain that the

value of art

lies in

nothing other than

itself.

As

regards the objections to sharp breaks or transitions,

we

have already pointed out the danger of the mere continuum theory, the result that all the lower cognition would have to be
superseded as worthless.
involves ultimately a
all
still

We
more
Plato

suspect

also

that

it

really

terrible disaster, the denial of

spiritual activity or growth, the reduction of everything to

view, on the contrary, admits the possibility of real growth, the coming into existence of
s

the lowest that

we know.

something new.

More generally
in

still,

we cannot pretend

to find

much comfort
ness.

the

philosophy
all,

whose ultimate

principle

appears to be that, after

things are pretty

much

of a

much
full

We

suggest, on the contrary, that the world

must be

of real differences, if it is really to be a unity, or chaos, or pure blank. welter,

and not a mere

On

the other

hand we are not unwilling
recognize
that
there
are

to

make

certain

concessions.

We

real

difficulties

* 5956.

104

PLATO

S

TIIKOUY OF EIKASIA.

remaining both as regards our attempts to explain Plato s meaning and as regards our attempts to defend it. Yet we may suggest that our attempt to explain has at least one
merit
;

we have not been

afraid

of

supposing that he had

a real meaning to explain, nor of risking the possibility of So many of the error in an attempt to make this clear.
critics

was begin with the assumption that Plato talking more or less at random, and that they will sufficiently
appear
to

explain him

We they talk more or less at random too. can only say that we hav- tried to do justice to him as a have misunderstood philosopher, even if sometimes we may
if

him

as an

artist.

It

is

a form of offence which he himself

would be likely

to forgive.

even greater regards our attempts to defend we admit Plato certainly generally tended to speak as if difficulties. there Jfciefe- were a sharp opposition between the yiyvo/jievov and

As

the. eZSo?,

but
it
is

it

is

doubtful

if

this
if

was
it

really his ultimate

view, and
If

still

more doubtful

can ultimately stand.

we

give up

course equally give

or modify this ultimate opposition, we must of up or modify our similar sharp distinction

between the apparent and the actual. But we do insist that vJboth in Plato s eyes and in reality, these distinctions have at It is only by making them that we least a didascalic truth.
can lead ourselves and others up to the ultimate and true view which lies behind them. If we have not learnt them we have
learnt nothing.
in every
still

Ultimately they

may

be necessary moments

act of cognition or

to

find

what you will, but even if we have the unity which lies behind and explains these
to

differences,

we venture

express

the
it

belief

that

it

will

illuminate and not annul them, that

will

explain rather

than destroy.

Pat on, Herbert James Plato s theory a

PLEASE

DO NOT REMOVE
FROM
THIS

CARDS OR

SLIPS

POCKET

UNIVERSITY

OF TORONTO

LIBRARY

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful